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The Modern Linguist

Vol. 26, Issue 3, March 2020

Complete Archive

The Modern Linguist was birthed from the desire to unite those who study in the world languages discipline at Whitworth University. The newsletter features information, news and stories applicable to those involved in the program. Let it serve you well.

World Languages & Cultures Department
Westminster Hall
Whitworth University
Phone: 509.777.4765
Department Chair and Editor-in-Chief: Jennifer Brown
Editor: Ann Penfield

For student employment information, please contact Ann Penfield, program assistant, at 509.777.4765.

Faculty Spotlight 

Article Reflection by Professor Lindy Scott

One of our CASP students recently wrote in her homework assignment, "I never knew that the United States supported such horrible atrocities in Latin America. Why didn't they teach this to us in our schools back home?" Over the years I have heard versions of this comment hundreds of times from U.S. students who have traveled to Latin America. In many ways, her comment parallels my own life. I grew up believing that the USA was God's gift to the world, the land of the free, and the home of the brave. We always defended democracy and justice at home and abroad. The fact that I am a white, male, baby boomer meant that I grew up with many privileges not shared by most North Americans. I "came of age" in college when I became aware of the various ways our country had not lived up to our best ideals. In a similar way, many of our CASP students are "coming of age" this semester. 

During much of the twentieth century (roughly from 1946-90), the United States, along with other western countries, was immersed in an ideological "Cold War" against the Soviet Union and its allies. This Cold War produced regional conflicts all over the globe (in China, Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, various African countries and Latin America). The United States, under both Democrat and Republican administrations, saw world communism as the great evil. Our government adopted the pseudo-ethical approach of "the end justifies the means." I denounce it as pseudo-ethical because in the pursuit of a "good" goal or end, anything and everything is permitted. Variations of this approach have permeated our culture by phrases like "all is fair in love and war." In order to stop the spread of communism, the U.S. opposed peaceful democratic changes and/or supported right-wing dictatorships especially in Latin America.

Our CASP students have seen the consequences of these interventions up close. First, in Guatemala. After World War II ended, the Guatemalan people democratically elected the progressive presidents Juan José Arevalo and Jacobo Arbenz. Seeing the extreme poverty of his citizens, Arbenz implemented a legal agrarian reform to buy non-utilized land from the United Fruit Company and make it available to the landless peasants. Having strong ties in the Eisenhower administration, the UFC was able to get the CIA to stage a coup d´état in 1954 which overthrew Arbenz and initiated a series of dictatorial/authoritarian military governments. One of the worst dictators was General Efraín Ríos Montt who ruled Guatemala for 18 months during 1982-83. He was accused of war crimes and genocide against his own indigenous population. Tens of thousands were killed during his administration. In 2012, he was indicted for genocide and wars against humanity. Not only did the U.S. government heavily support Ríos Montt, many U.S. Christians did so as well, because the dictator was a "brother in the Lord."

The gospel of Jesus Christ has been distorted and this distorted version has been rejected by many young Latin Americans, especially because our government has supported these dictators. How should CASP students respond when they become aware that the U.S. supported these dictatorships in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba, Argentina, Chile and Brazil? How will friends and family members back in the States react when our CASP students share these uncomfortable truths? How do we practice restitution and reconciliation for horrible actions committed by previous generations? These difficult questions are sometimes misinterpreted as a lack of patriotism. Nevertheless, true patriotism seeks to improve one's country by pointing out its flaws and working on solutions to make it a better place. We can improve our nation's foreign policy by learning from our mistakes and making sure that our elected officials treat other nations with the respect due to all human beings. May we be insistent seekers of truth as we follow our Lord Jesus who proclaimed that the truth would set us free.

A View from Abroad 

Kayla (Bain) Oliver '21

This last fall semester I had to opportunity to study abroad in Europe, along with my newly-wed husband Jared. During our time abroad, we were able to see and experience our world in a new and unique way. We did our study abroad program through IES Barcelona and had the opportunity to travel to 12 different countries. We tasted wine with the Spaniards, gazed at magnificent art with the French, learned to row like a Venetian, made noodles with the Hungarians – just to name a few. 

Three photos sliced: two young adults smiling, several students enjoying a gondola ride, and a football stadium at sunset.

A main takeaway for me was how to think about God's world in a larger perspective. As a business major, I want to keep a global mindset when making decisions and taking time to consider how our choices affect and impact people on the other side of the world. I'm starting to discover that I can incorporate my love for different cultures and languages to lift up the diversity of God's kingdom.

I hope that everyone gets a chance to step out of our American bubble to see the beauty of our world, from a fresh perspective.

Willow Barthelmess '22

The word "home" has been on my mind lately. Studying abroad changes a person; everywhere I traveled, I left a part of myself there. I learned things that would have been impossible to learn elsewhere. I made life-long friends. I was, and continue to be, stretched to new limits. And while I can't avoid the change that happened within myself, I loved every minute of it.

Two young adults pose for a photo at night with a city skyline and body of water behind them.

Verse of the Month

Psalm 46:10

English: Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Spanish: Estad quietos, y sabed que yo soy Dios; exaltado seré entre las naciones, exaltado seré en la tierra.

French: Il fait cesser les combats |jusqu’aux confins de la terre, l’arc, il l’a brisé |et il a rompu la lance, il a consumé au feu |tous les chars de guerre.

German: In aller Welt bereitet er den Kriegen ein Ende. Die Kampfbogen bricht er entzwei, er zersplittert die Speere und verbrennt die Kriegswagen.

Chinese:  祂说:“要安静,要知道我是上帝,我必在列国受尊崇,在普世受尊崇。

Japenese: 「よく聞きなさい。わたしこそ神であることを、よくよく知りなさい。